Saturday, January 31, 2009

Grocery shopping - God is SO good!!

This has been an incredible week for shopping at our house. Just wait till I tell you about how God has provided for us in an incredible way!! But first, let me show you a few crafty-type things I picked up:

  • The heart-shaped chipboard books are $1 at Michaels. I got them to make Valentine's gifts for my two kids. They are currently in love with the book "I'll Love You Forever," so I thought I'd do a cute little book for each of them with the words, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be." I think there are 5 pages in these, so it should be perfect for putting one phrase per page.
  • I got the bug paperweights at the Target Dollar Spot for $1 each. I'm going to peel the bottom image off and replace it with pictures of each of my kids. These will be part of my husband's Father's Day gift this year!
  • I got the Sizzix paper doll die (using a 50% Joann's coupon), and my mind is busy cooking up ideas for this! :) What you see in the picture is one of the die cuts I cut onto magnetic paper that I got at Dollar Tree. These dolls are the perfect size to fit into the $1 gift card tins that you can buy at the register at Michaels. I'll probably post more on that sometime soon! :)
  • Not pictured: a sentence-strip chart I got at the Target $1 Spot ($1). I was super-impressed with it because I was expecting it to be made out of really flimsy fabric, but it's actually very sturdy!

Now let's take a peek at what I got today:

Here's where the big story comes in. You see those 25 bottles of vitamins to the left? They each contain a month's supply of glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM. I need them for my knees, since the cartilage in my knees has been nearly gone since I was 13. Up until I started taking this supplement, I suffered terrible leg aches that would radiate pain up and down my leg, usually from my knee. I was skeptical at first, but the results speak for themselves: I had virtually no leg pain while I took it. BUT I've been out of the supplement for at least a month now, and the leg aches are returning.

The cheapest I have been able to find a comparable product is $4.50 each online, and I can't even find that anymore. Right now the cheapest I can find is $7.50 each. I just had a discussion with my husband the other day about buying these. I can't stand the thoughts of $90 for a year's supply, even if I do suffer leg aches when I don't take it. He has encouraged me to buy it anyway since, in his words, "It's cheaper than knee replacement." Good point! But still ...

Imagine my surprise to walk through Dollar Tree today (for the first time in a month!) and find these bottles in the medicine aisle. I picked up one box, not realizing it was a name brand. I wasn't sure how effective it would be, but I figured I could always try it and find out. So I went home and showed it to my husband, remarking how awesome it was that Dollar Tree was now carrying these. (Or so I thought ...) He told me to look it up online, since there was a website on the package, and if they were truly what I needed -- go back and buy all that they had. :)

So I looked it up. This is RenewIn, from the makers of ActivOn. It's not Dollar Tree brand, and I'm not likely to find it there on a regular basis. Do you realize how much these same bottles cost at Wal-Mart, Walgreens, CVS, etc.? How about $25-30 each for the same exact bottle?!

I about fell out of my chair when I saw that! So I promptly headed right back out the door to Dollar Tree and picked up two years' worth. I wanted to leave some for someone else who might need that great deal, too! So in the end, I paid $25 for the same amount of product I would have spent $180 for from my cheapest supplier. And if you count the original retail of each box, I "would have" paid $625 for all that medicine (at the cheapest)!

And you know what else? I recently reworked our budget for the new year and discovered that I had to cut back in nearly every category, thanks to the rising costs of nearly everything. My food budget took quite a hit, but God has helped me to make that amount stretch in the past, and I knew He could do it again.

I also had a $20/month vitamin fund, which we needed primarily for that glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM. So guess whose food budget just got a $20/month raise?! :) God is so much better to us than we ever deserve!

You can look at the picture and see what all I got for around $25 (not including the vitamins, which I took out of last year's Vitamin Fund excess). It was mostly a bunch of kitchen "staples," including some items I needed to make birthday cakes for my husband and his twin sister next week.

But let me quickly tell you about one more awesome Dollar Tree find for the day: watch batteries. I always browse their button batteries, hoping they'll get in the kind my watch uses. So far, I've not had any luck. But when I saw tiny ones today, I pulled my watch off and checked the back - sure enough, they're the right ones!! So I picked up a pack of 8, which should last me for the next 10 years or so ... ;) Do you realize how much I've paid for the same exact battery at Wal-Mart? How about $4 each. So, let's see ... that's a savings of about $31. WOW!

Alright, enough of that shopping trip. Let me show you what we got at Superfresh earlier in the week:

3 bags Lay's potato chips
  • 13 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast ($1.69/lb!)
  • 4 12-packs of Pepsi sodas (one is missing in the picture because my husband had already put it away before I caught him)

  • We got all of that for $35. Obviously, I don't usually buy soda and chips in that quantity. But the price was right - buy 4 packs of soda for $11, get 2 bags of Lay's chips FREE (with an additional $25 purchase, which was the chicken breast and additional bag of chips). I bought the third bag of chips to submit for the Pepsi/Lay's $15 coupon rebate where you get $15 of coupons to use on soda and chips. Last year I was able to get mostly free chips and soda around Memorial Day with those same coupons, so I'm hoping to do the same again this year!

    About the chicken breast - It pays to live in Perdue country! If I watch the sales, I can usually keep my freezer stocked with chicken breast for well under my target price of $2/pound. I got 15 meals out of this particular haul of chicken breast. Considering it cost $22, that makes it $1.46 per meal ... and I don't even have to mess with skin and bones! (I just can't stomach that part, which is why I always stock up on the boneless, skinless breasts. There's something about peeling off skin and pulling out bones that makes me weak in the knees ... I know, I think too much!)

    So there you have it ... my doctoral thesis on this week's grocery shopping and God's provision for our family! ;) (Seriously, is this 10 pages long or something?) But I think you'd have to agree that God is so good to us!


    Meredith@MerchantShips said...

    How awesome and uplifting to read about your needs being met! I often say that when I honor my budget, God often helps me find ways to exceed my earlier expectations!

    simple~needs said...

    great deals! yes, the lord provides. i am going to check our dollar store for these.

    Anonymous said...

    Thank you for sharing how the Lord has blessed you. I must get myself over to our Dollar Tree. :)

    Susan said...

    I love how the Lord takes care of us! I call these kind of things "hugs from the Lord" because they're just special things He does to show us He loves us. Amen!

    Crystal Mason said...

    Wow! That's awesome!

    Question: Do you keep a list of what your "target prices" are on groceries, etc... I would be interested in knowing that. I believe the Lord has really been helping me to be more frugal...but sometimes I'm not sure what is a "good" target price on various items. Any help?

    Sophia said...


    Some people do keep a "price book," but I'm not one of them. I'm pretty good at remembering the going price of most of our kitchen staples, so I usually know when I'm getting a good deal.

    However, I do have a "target price" for meat: $2/pound. I try to stay under that. We don't get rib eye steaks for that price, but we do get roast, boneless/skinless chicken breast, pork chops and such. And I can always get ground turkey (which I use exclusively in place of ground beef) for less than $2/pound.

    I'm also not brand loyal to anything, except my facial cleanser and moisturizer, which is a necessity (sensitive skin). If I can get hairspray free at a drug store, I'll take it. I'm used to pump-type sprays, but I'm currently using an aerosol because you just can't beat FREE. :)